Robert Geller has found his voice, like it or lump it—or love it (a very viable third option). His collections these past few seasons have had an enviable coherence. The era he chose to channel for Spring, the sixties and seventies, is almost a hundred years removed from the fin de siècle looks he mined last time, but the pieces were recognizably related, as if passed down from father to son.
The student protests of the late sixties gave Geller his juice this season. Those demonstrations often turned violent, even fatal; Benno Ohnesorg, an unarmed German university student killed by police in 1967 during a peaceful protest, was on his mind. Despite this somber, thought-provoking inspiration, the dandy flourishes and jewel tones Geller has used before were here, too. This time, though, there was a new military cast to the collection. The pants were looser than usual, in army drab and khaki; there were cadet jackets, and even a full-on flight suit. Screaming punk played on the soundtrack, and news footage from the time played on rows of TV screens. Amid all the discord and chaos, Geller centered on a sense of unity. "I like the energy of youth trying to find its own voice," he said in his studio a few days before the show. "There's something very powerful when a generation unifies."
Geller is something of a sensualist: He loves chemical treatments that give his clothes a glinting sheen, a flowing scarf, a decorative bow. But this time around, a fearsome note heightened the luscious quality. It was hard not to notice that the passage of bordeaux and brilliant reds that opened the collection—new shades—were the color of blood. And the sleek treated blazers that ended it shone in the lights, slick, black, and oily as the barrel of a gun.